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Artist Kelsey Brookes

[Art Scene]

The Art, Canvasses and Lifestyle of painter Kelsey Brookes

Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla
Gallery show through December 19

Musical Stylings Courtesy of The Dabbers and Lions Cut

Review with slideshow photos and video interview of the artist
by the totally amazing Reviewer Rob

Last Friday night was the art opening for San Diego painter Kelsey Brookes, and Reviewer Magazine was there.

On November 20th a band I know of and have been meaning to go see, The Dabbers, were announced to be playing at an art show opening with another two-piece, Lions Cut. The night was held in a La Jolla gallery north of Kline and south of Silverado streets, between Fay and Girard Avenues. Although the thoroughfare the gallery’s address is on is little more than service access alley for the businesses on Fay and Girard, barely big enough for two cars to pass each other, it’s actually a designated city street called Drury Lane. Welcome to La Jolla, where the modest and commonplace are elevated to a quality level worthy of society’s elite and royalty. La Jolla, where the actual name comes from a now intentionally mispelled Castilian Spanish phrase that was the original name for the La Jolla Shores area just east of the beach, “La Joya,” and means The Hole (from the ocean the canyon behind The Shores looks like a hole with only one opening), is a community where nothing is truly common and all of its resident denizens are there because they’ve been vetted into a meritocracy of achievement, income or pedigree that transforms the banal into a product fit for conspicuous consumers and their entertainment.

But as every translation of the name suggests, La Jolla about the land. Geographically, the scenic cluster of high hills on the San Diego coast called La Jolla is a very special place.

The opening here was awesome because of the crowd, the live entertainment – which was a true coup for a painter doing a new show here – and the art itself. Kelsey Brookes’ paintings are superlatively achieved canvasses. He’s also a cool personality and it was nice to meet him. Not stuffy or pretentious at all, but a really cool mellow long-haired hippyish surfer dude that paints like a madman possessed with true visionary talent. Check out his video interview in screamingly high resolution with Reviewer Rob HERE. The location for this kind of event was also genius since the alley address provided enough privacy for people to be able to mingle about in the parking lot out front in the well lit area outside of the gallery with plenty of room to see the bands perform. It felt like they could have had another one or two bands play and the gendarmes wouldn’t have shown up unless maybe if they wanted a free glass of wine.

You need to make a trip out to Quint Contemporary Art Gallery in this fine resort/bedroom community and savor some of this quality art before December 19th when the show closes…


Kelsey is a former biochemist who attributes his raw style to an education system “that refuses to teach scientists to draw”. He abandoned biochemistry because “I thought I was going to be there for a few months to get myself some money. Three years later I was left wondering if I had become what I always despised – the funny guy at the water cooler …except not so funny. I was the confused not so funny guy at the water cooler.”

Quint Contemporary Art

Google Maps

7739 Drury Lane
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 454-3409

Click the image below the allow the Flash slideshow to begin.

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U-31 in North Park

[Nightlife Reportage]


OK… U-31 Cocktail Lounge isn’t all that bad. After last night’s show I reconsider my earlier unwritten review…

Review, photos and video by Reviewer Rob

I first stepped into U-31 a couple of years ago or so just after their grand opening and was impressed with the remodel. It’s really taken on a unique upscale persona of its own. Before the current owner took over, like everyplace else in this part of town, it was a crusty local dive, called Buster Daly’s, that had a gritty charm with entertainment when bands couldn’t get booked at a the Casbah. It was close to home for me since up until 2006 I lived less than two blocks away on Illinois Street. But now in the post-housing-bubble gentrification rush of all things urban and decaying this is another fine example of what was a former dirty watering hole gone semi-uptown. The room is large and utilitarian, with very few remnants persisting of its former rundown ambiance, and can be converted into anything from a dance hall to a banquet room or a comedy club and still not break character. The best feature however is the liquor wall behind the bar that’s backlit and stacked with all your favorite spirits which requires a ladder to reach the top of.

On this night the crowd was typical for a coolclub scene: young, monied and good looking. May Star of Maystar Productions who also hosted the night was working the back booths being her usual cute and slightly snobby self. She’s so image conscious I won’t be surprised if she sends me a text asking that I delete that snobby comment or says something else overtly controlling, “LOL!”.

The first time I went there a couple of years ago maybe I was too early that evening but there was no crowd and the bartender was kind of bitchy. I speculated because of this that they’d have a hard time getting the club going and staying open. Now a couple of years later, at least on this Friday night, there was a lot of people drinking and having a good time and the early-shift bartenders, dressed like flappers, were friendly and a lot hotter than the time before. I ordered a Grand Marnier on the rocks and commented on Facebook that it was $7.50. Later in the night a second one was $10.

The band this evening was Little Red Radio, from Los Angeles. When I walked up to the club earlier the lead singer was standing out front with some dudes and she was looking like some hard living stripper with a lot of miles on her. I didn’t know it was the girl in the band that I was looking at but when they took the stage I wasn’t surprised. The other singer and the band’s keyboardist, both males, played barefoot while she kept her knee-high black boots on. They described their music in the post-set interview as electro-something, but you can check them out on myspace or watch it in Quicktime HERE and see for yourself; sorry about the sound distortion. You can donate a better video camera to Reviewer Magazine if you wish.

On the whole it was a cool night. It’s great to see nightlife improving on every corner in this social scene. You can click HERE for the Flash photo gallery from the Reviewer Magazine pocket Nikon camera and video recorder.


Above left: Little Red Radio’s lead singer, Lara. More of her is in the Flash photo gallery. Click the image below for the sidewalk interview and a clip of the show.